It’s one of the most prestigious showing championships a combination can win and this year, the LeMieux British Show Pony Society (BSPS) ridden mountain and moorland (M&M) final at Olympia Horse Show (17-23 December) is set to produce another year of stellar competition. Some of the country’s best native ponies, producers and home produced riders will take to the Olympia International arena in the hope of winning the coveted title.
Ahead of the 2018 show, we take a look at some past champions who experienced their own centre line moments and made it into the history books:
2008: Torrin Of Croila
Melanie and Gemma Stanford’s bay Highland stallion was nine when he landed the supreme with Matthew Lawrence in the saddle, who had won the title in 2006 and 2007 with the Connemara Bunowen Castle Ri. Torrin is a previous Royal Windsor, Great Yorkshire, Royal Norfolk and NPS Area 4 in-hand champion and is also the sire of HOYS ridden winner and Olympia Best of Breed, Tower Clyde.
2009: Farriers Fingerprint
The first New Forest to ever lift the crown was this stallion, a son of Peveril Peter Piper and Wainsford Whispering Grace, who was 13 when he was crowned. Owned by Simon and Shirley Young and ridden by Shirley, the lovely grey has been triumphant on the county and breed show circuit for many years and was placed third at HOYS in 2011.
2010: Pumphill Buckthorn
Sarah Parker and Sue Hughes’ iconic black stallion had won the overall M&M championship at HOYS three months before he topped the Olympia final. He also headed the equivalent class at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) in the previous July. He was also M&M champion at the RIHS and M&M supreme at HOYS in 2011 (pictured) before being retired to stud in 2016.
2011: Rushfield Bailey
The Anderson family from Dumfries watched their Dartmoor stallion claim a first Olympia victory in the inaugural BSPS Heritage championship. The then eight-year-old Springwater Happy Days son was fourth at the final in 2010 and was a winner at Royal Highland and Great Yorkshire, was champion at Ayr and stood fourth at HOYS in 2011.
2012: Bronheulog Harvey
History repeated itself when native producer Sam Roberts — champion at Olympia 14 years previous on Harwell Wizard — netted the 2014 championship with another Welsh section B, the bay gelding Bronheulog Harvey. Harvey has since gone on to compete at top level in working hunter classes and was second in the 133cm class at HOYS in October of this year.
2013: Fly The Last Flute
This Connemara and Sandra Burton broke the small breed trend to take the 2013 sash. The gelding who is by Glencarrig Knight has had an illustrious career under saddle, also qualifying for HOYS several years running.
2014: Moelview Prince Consort
Sam Roberts returned to win the final in 2014 with her own then four-year-old Welsh section B stallion, who has since gone on to dominate in the dressage arena. Prince Consort gained his Olympia ticket at Royal Windsor.
2015: Townend Schubert
H&H columnist Rebecca Penny topped the field in 2015 with her own Fell pony. The ever-popular hairy stallion “Bert” has won his class at HOYS on three occasions and has also been M&M supreme at the RIHS.
2016: Uphill James Fox
The Welsh section A stallion took his producer Katy Marriott-Payne to victory on his debut at the final and became the first Welsh Mountain Pony to claim the overall honours. Owned by Tonwen Hughes, James Fox was the second highest priced lot (£8,100) at the Brightwells Fayre Oaks High Flyers Sale in 2014.
2017: Cadlanvalley Sandpiper
Arguably one of the most consistent Olympia finalists, Welsh section B Sandpiper finally clinched the supreme sash last year, after previously standing second and third. The palomino who is owned by Kathleen Scott has also won HOYS twice and continues to compete in open ridden as well as junior ranks with Katy’s son, Thomas.
Don’t miss H&H’s extensive Olympia coverage. Check out dressage and Wednesday-Saturday showjumping reports in the 28 December issue (out Friday, not Thursday this week because of Christmas schedules), while showing, driving and Sunday showjumping coverage will be in the 3 January 2019 issue.